When Suzuki signed Matt Moss to a contract that would bring him to the United States, he was praised as the next great hope for Australian motocross. But since his arrival, he has spent a considerable amount of time injured and unable to live up to the expectations placed upon him. A podium in San Diego during the West Coast Lites season looked to be the break the JDR/J-Star/KTM racer needed, but the brightest moment of his stateside career was soon eclipsed by yet another health issue. He was forced to miss the first three outdoor Nationals of the year, but returned at High Point this past weekend. We caught up with Moss after the day was finished to hear what has plagued him this season.
You’ve been in the US a handful of years now, but since you have gotten here, it has been rough. You are finding your stride this year with a podium in San Diego, so how do you feel the year has gone so far?
The season was going good until after San Diego, when I got a third. I went home and actually got really sick. My blood levels got really low, so that is why I wasn’t here for the first three rounds. I had to have an operation to get a couple of lumps taken out of me, and I have just been fighting back. I thought I was a little bit more prepared for this weekend, but obviously on TV it looks a lot different. These guys are going super fast. I have to start somewhere, and I didn’t have the best results today, but the team behind me is great and I want to get out there and do better. I know I can, it’s just a hard road ahead and I am capable of getting up there.
To have this happen, a totally unexpected health issue, how is it playing on your fitness?
It took a lot out of me. I couldn’t even walk down the street without nearly having a heart attack. I couldn’t breathe and I felt like I was going to faint. We knew there was something wrong and we took care of it. I had about 50 blood tests, and everything came back really low, everything in my body was really low, like my body just wasn’t working. I saw a doctor and he operated on me, and slowly but surely it became better. I was allowed to get on the bike a week and a half ago, so I have been trying to catch up. I was only off the bike for five weeks, but it feels like a lifetime. To come to an AMA motocross championship, you have to be 110 percent fit to even try and battle with these guys. I feel like I am at 80 percent, so I am trying to fight the fitness and get it nice and quick to battle with these guys.
Granted the change to your health changes your outlook on the year. How much have you changed your expectations for the year?
Testing motocross before the season started, I felt great. Everything felt good and everywhere we went, I was pretty much as fast as anyone. I had really high expectations, and for that to get taken away from me and have it sprung up on me… Coming into this race, I really wanted to do better, but it is what it is and you can’t really do anything about it but fight through it and try to get fit.
When you say you went “home,” you mean Australia?
How important is it to get back there, and do you get the chance to go often even though it’s such a gnarly flight?
It is a gnarly flight, but I get to go home and see my friends and family, and my girlfriend gets to see her family. Living over here, just me and her, it is tough. You don’t have your family’s support, you can’t just go around your mates to have dinner. All of that stuff is tough. But we went home for four weeks and it was great for me. All I did was moto and I was feeling really fit. The injuries come up, but that is the sport.
Do you feel that you have adapted to the American lifestyle well?
I have. I raced here in 2010, but it was pretty much the lull of my life. Coming back here was a big step for me, because I didn’t quite cope. This year has been really good, and obviously the results haven’t quite been what I wanted, but the third was good. It’s America, with the best racers and riders in the world and I got 17th today. That’s 17th in the world with the best riders, so I am happy in a way, but I know I can do better.